Themelios has just published an excellent summary review of Claire Smith’s detailed (500 page+!) monograph on the vocabulary of “teaching” in 1 Corinthians and the Pastoral Epistles. The review was written by Andrew Clarke in Aberdeen. I highly recommend it for anyone who would like to familiarise themselves quickly with the key findings of Smith’s scholarly work.
Text-focused study was not the goal of these communities. Rather, the focus was on character formation in contexts where ‘texts’ were largely oral/aural, rather than written, and where close, authoritative relationships invited the imitation of modeled lives, and not merely attendance at formal discourse. This impinges, of course, on the range of physical contexts for educational activities. None of this relegates the role of God as the prime teacher and revealer, the supreme source and authority. As a consequence, the human teacher would do well to model ongoing learning, rather than be seen as one who has mastered, and therefore hands down, a fixed and acquired curriculum.
Some of my readers may be aware that Claire’s essays have recently been scathingly criticised and that I have provided a partial response to the criticism (for details see here). I think Clarke’s review will help readers to gain a greater understanding of some of the issues I raised in my response.